Safety Measures and In-Home Care for Seniors | CareAssist

How To Establish Senior Safety in the Home

Falling is a very real risk for seniors. According to the CDC, every year more than 25% of elderly citizens fall, with about 20% of incidents resulting in serious bodily harm, such as a traumatic brain injury or fractured hip. Once someone falls down a first time, the likelihood of it happening again becomes twice as high. The good news is that there is much you can do to lower the risk of your parent or spouse falling. It starts with safety at home, from improving conditions to utilizing the support of in-home care.

The Basics of Home Safety for Seniors

Go through the house to identify and eliminate hazards. The CDC provides a thorough checklist for you to use so you do not miss anything. Examples of changes to make include the following:

  • Securing or removing rugs
  • Keeping hallways, walkways, and steps clear of clutter
  • Attaching handrails to stairways
  • Installing grab bars in tubs, by toilets, and in other relevant places
  • Properly lighting all areas, including using nightlights
  • Rearranging furniture for open access
  • Moving cords and wires out of the way
  • Getting a stepstool with a handle to hold on to

Some modifications may require more work. For example, you may need to take out front steps to create a zero-threshold entryway. You may also need to replace toilets with higher models, install a walk-in tub, or add a shower chair. These may be costly adjustments, but they can save your loved one from a painful injury and long recovery that will require additional care.

Falls are not the only danger to protect against. Other safeguards include using devices to monitor water temperature and automatically turn off ovens and stoves, ensuring all carbon monoxide and smoke alarms function, and setting up a medical alert system.

How In-Home Care Helps

Senior safety can be an overwhelming responsibility to take on by yourself. It can be even more challenging when you are not the primary caregiver, do not live close by, or have your own health issues to deal with. Although you may visit often or rely on modern technology to keep in touch, you may feel that your efforts are not enough, causing you to worry about the safety of your loved one.

A common solution is to turn to others who care about your family. Family members and friends may have good intentions, but they are not always reliable simply because problems often arise in their own lives. No one may even be willing to help because of the high commitment. A more stable choice is professional in-home care.

This kind of care provides a companion to your loved one to assist with daily activities, such as getting dressed and eating. With someone in the home to supervise and aid, your elderly parent or spouse will be safer and less likely to fall or get hurt in another way. Even if you are in the home too, you cannot always give your full attention to your senior loved one. Having help in the home eases some of your burden.

Whether you are interested in a medical alert system or in-home care, CareAssist has what you need. Check out our FAQs to learn more or contact us for further information.

Sources

https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/pdf/STEADI-Brochure-CheckForSafety-508.pdf

https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/home-care/info-2017/home-safety-tips.html

Home Care Assistance VS Retirement Homes – Which Is Best?

One of the hardest things to do is to decide what is best for a person you love that can no longer cope alone. Most family members in this situation have one of three choices;

Convince the struggling family member to move in with you and provide assistance yourself
Consider a retirement home or assisted living community
Consider home care assistance

The first option always seems the most attractive at first but this choice mostly end in disaster. Caring for someone with special needs is no simple task at all and can disrupt an entire family when they can no longer do the things or attend special occasions since grandma or grandpa cannot handle the stress of these activities. Then there is the entire issue of trying to get along in the same house, the conflict of social interests and the physical strain that some caring activities (bathing and more) has on those around them. Most elderly people soon grow quiet and feel like they are unwanted, unappreciated and in the way and the result is depression and regret.

Home care assistance or retirement homes is your best bet

It is much better for the struggling individual and for the rest of the family to choose between home care assistance and a retirement home because these choices provides grandma or grandpa with plenty of freedom, individuality and they can still socially interact with their own age group as well as family members. Now the big question remains; which is best?

Home care assistance VS retirement homes

Retirement homes or senior homes can be a terrific solution to some people. A lot of effort is put to care for those that can no longer do everything themselves and these retirement facilities are usually loaded with lots of senior activities. But here is why home care assistance is probably better;

They don’t have to sell their house. Seniors can continue living in the house and town they love so much.
They gain more individuality since they can still do everything they love, when they love to do it where retirement homes usually follow a strict program.
Home care assistance can be much more affordable than retirement homes, especially since seniors can choose the assistance they need whether it is just someone to help clean and cook or someone to provide 24 hour assistance.
For home care assistance, seniors can choose who is helping out. In retirement homes you don’t have a choice when it comes to assistants.
Home care assistance can be pretty good solutions to families with living in seniors because the assistant can do all the hard work while families can simply enjoy their beloved grandparent.
Home care assistance is a terrific solution to those that only need temporary assistance like seniors that are recovering from illness or those recovering from injury. They get the assistance they need, when they need it and can go right back to being individual and all alone whenever they are ready to take up all the tasks alone again.

Things to Consider Before Hiring In-Home Care

If you need in-home care for parents or a loved one, it might be tempting to call the first number that comes up in a search or grab the first business card in a stack. This could be a mistake as not all home care providers are the same. Some offer different services, and there are a few in-home care companies that emphasize service more than others. Obviously, you want the best care possible for your loved one so it’s important to scrutinize providers before making a decision. When you decide to look for a provider to deliver senior care at home, take these five things into consideration.

Credentials and Licensing
Any reputable home care provider should have credentials and licensing. For example, in Tennessee, a provider should be licensed by the state as a Personal Support Services Agency. You should also ask if the provider is properly bonded and insured.

Detailed Information
Aside from a phone number for an agency, there should also be some detailed information available about the company and its services. Ideally, they will have a professional and informative website as well as some sort of social media presence. If you can’t get all of your questions answered online, call the company and ask further questions or request that a brochure be sent to your home.

Reputable Caregivers
When you invite someone into your home for any reason, you want to feel safe. The best home care providers will take great pains to employ caring and responsible caregivers. For example, people who provide elder care should be thoroughly interviewed, given a criminal background check, drug test, and undergo a personal reference check.

Privacy Concerns
While you might not always receive medical care from an in-home care provider, it’s still just as important as ever that your personal information is protected. Any provider that you choose should be a HIPAA-compliant agency. This means that the company will protect your information, and the only people that have access to any of your data are those who are directly involved in your care.

Scheduling Methods
Another thing that you’ll want to ask about is how the agency handles their scheduling. For example, if you need to cancel services, how much notice do they require? In most cases 24 hours is reasonable. Also, if you are contracting for senior care at home and the patient wishes to make a change for any reason, will this be an issue? Some care facilities might be short-staffed on occasion, so it’s a good idea to find out if there are procedures in place send a substitute caregiver when needed.

Hiring in-home care for parents or a loved one can be stressful when it’s a new experience. Use these tips to ensure you’re bringing the right company and elder care providers into your home the first time.

Health Care Gains Access in Rural Areas Through Home Care

While it’s true that over the past century, the average life expectancy for Americans has increased by about 25 years, that figure is not universally true throughout the United States. In some rural areas of the country, and particularly with seniors, life expectancy has remained relatively stagnant, and has actually decreased slightly. The biggest reason for this is that there just aren’t enough doctors and caregivers to provide skilled care in those more remotes sections, although it’s also true that health insurance has not been as available to that demographic as to others.

Other problems with rural care

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), everyone does have the right to care in this country, but that is not equivalent to having access to treatment when it’s really needed – and for many advanced seniors, the consequences of zero treatment can be life-threatening. Studies have shown clearly that rural seniors have to travel longer distances, to see fewer doctors, with bigger caseloads – and quite often don’t have medical coverage or money to pay for treatment. As a result, seniors in urban areas outlive those in country settings by a clear margin.

Efforts to provide care

In a desperate attempt to entice more young doctors to rural areas, some states like Colorado have begun offering residency programs at state-supported universities. Since statistics show that most doctors settle in areas within 150 miles of where they did residencies, that should serve to encourage more young doctors to remain in under-served areas of the state.

Some rural area hospitals have offered to help young doctors pay off their college loans through a kind of loan repayment program, in exchange for working in designated areas where medical professionals are in scarce supply. Both this tactic and the one above, wherein residency programs are offered, have met with limited success, but are still far short of filling the vast need for skilled medical help in rural areas.

Success through home care

Probably the most successful attempt so far for bridging the gap between rural patients and qualified medical professionals, has been provided by technology, specifically that of senior care at home. Pilot programs have already been setup in many of the more remote rural areas which lack the needed doctors and health care professionals. By connecting the two parties over the Internet, some level of interaction has become possible, where none existed before.

This solves several problems at once, particularly the travel issue and the non-resident physician one. Still, it is not the perfect answer, because the question of physical treatment must still be ironed out somehow, so urgent cases can be handled effectively. If some of the remaining issues for elder care at home can be resolved in the future, there just may be a brighter outlook for under-served seniors in rural areas of this country.

Why Seniors Should Be Socially Active

People tend to become less active as they get older, and not just in the physical sense. Older adults are far more likely to want to stay in than they did when they were younger, and while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to spend an evening at home watching TV once in a while, it’s easy for an elderly person to become too withdrawn and solitary if they don’t remain socially active. Elder care often focuses more on a person’s physical needs, but it is just as important that a senior citizen.

Elder care often focuses more on a person’s physical needs, but it is just as important that a senior citizen remains socially active if they want to stay healthy. Staying socially active helps keeps a senior citizen’s mind constantly engaged, which prevents the cognitive issues that often arrive later in life. It also gives that person a reliable support system, something that people of all ages need. And yes, being socially active also helps an older adult remain physically active. Even if a senior isn’t the type to join a gym and work out regularly, a social life gives them reasons to go out into the community and be physically active. Their physical activity might not be any more strenuous than a pleasant walk on a sunny afternoon, but that still counts as exercise.

How Seniors Can Stay Socially Active

There are several ways that a senior citizen can remain socially active, many of which can and should be promoted by home care and elder care programs. An older adult who is physically able to do so can find opportunities to volunteer within their community, join social clubs that relate to their hobbies such as a book club or garden club, join a gym, or simply visit with family members. If you have a loved one living in an elder care center, encourage them to interact with other residents or participate in activities within that community. There are always fun programs and activities to be found in a reputable senior care center; you just need to seek them out.

Of course, not all senior citizens will be physically able to go out and interact with their peers, but that doesn’t have to prevent them from interacting with the world. Modern technology has made it possible to connect with people anywhere in the world, and even though things like Facebook and smartphones weren’t around when your parents were younger, they can still use them just like anybody else. Encourage them to create a Facebook profile, talk to their friends and family members online, and otherwise connect with the world. It may not be the same as actually going out to meet people face-to-face, but it will keep them engaged all the same.

For more information about how you can keep your aging loved ones engaged socially or if you need quality elder care, visit CareAssist online today.

Home Care Services Promote Positive Attitudes for our Loved Ones

One of the aspects of aging which can add significant years to an elderly person’s life, and improve the quality of that life, is the attitude about aging that a senior has. In 2002, a study was conducted by Yale and Miami University which clearly demonstrated this principle, with participants living an average of 7.5 years longer when they had a positive attitude about aging.

By contrast, their counterparts who had at least a moderately negative attitude toward the whole process, weren’t nearly as long-lived. If that doesn’t strike you as impressive, consider the fact that in similar studies conducted about the relationship between regular exercise and aging, the longer life expectancy of the regularly exercising group was a mere 3.4 years. Can emotional attitude really be twice as important as physical fitness for a senior person?

Aging can be depressing

Yes, it can. What’s clear from the results described above is that a negative attitude toward aging has an extremely powerful impact on the life expectancy of a senior. This shouldn’t be surprising, given the fact that even the most ordinary aspects of daily life can become significantly more difficult for an elderly person, especially if they’re even slightly disabled mentally or physically. When it becomes hard to get dressed, bathe yourself, and even take meals, it’s not hard to understand how negativity could quickly creep in, and skew someone’s attitude toward the negative end of the spectrum.

How homecare can help create positive attitudes

All that can change though, when friendly and competent home care is provided to assist a senior with daily life. When you have someone nearby to help with all those daily life necessities that might have been difficult to manage on your own, all the complexity and difficulty can just fade away, and they can become simple, manageable tasks once again.

There’s another aspect of home care that is sometimes overlooked, but which can make all the difference for a senior living alone. The companionship provided by a compassionate and caring home caregiver, can chase away the loneliness that often accompanies old age. It’s amazing how much better a senior feels when having a simple conversation with a caregiver, or perhaps taking a walk around the neighborhood, or even watching a television show together.

A home caregiver can help impart a positive attitude about aging with the senior, which can then be taken up and adopted as part of the senior’s own perspective on life. It’s that positive attitude toward aging that can really make an elderly person want to enjoy life every day, and go to bed anxious to see what the next day might bring.

Home care in Chattanooga, TN

If you know a senior who would benefit by a real attitude boost, and whose life would be made much easier and more fulfilling by reputable home care service, contact CareAssist of Chattanooga, for personalized support services that will improve the quality of life for your loved one.

Home Care Assistance Is Vital for Home Safety

As the Baby Boomer generation ages into retirement, elder care has grown into a large healthcare necessity. Consider these statistics:

  • By 2020, 12 million people aged 65 and over will need some form of long-term care.
  • By 2040, seniors will be over one-fifth of the American population.
  • The fastest growing age group in America is seniors aged 85 and older.

Although a large segment of the aged will be in nursing homes (over 20 percent), many will age at home. Most likely, seniors will not live with their adult children but by themselves.

As most elders desire to live independently, there’s also a growing need for home care assistance. Not only can be mobility issues, there can be mental health issues such as dementia and senility.

While the health care needs of seniors can sometimes be daunting and overwhelming, there are a number of benefits of home care. An in-home caregiver can help promote independence as well as keep your older loved one safe. Many of these home care assistance services and benefits are related to preventing falls, but also help to promote safety overall:

  • Fall and Accident Prevention In order to prevent falls, burns, and other sorts of accidents, having in-home care can provide a greater level of home safety for seniors. This could involve exercises, learning how to walk safely in the home, and other activities.
  • Safety from Criminals and Abuse By having senior care at home, this reduces the chance of your loved one becoming the victim of criminals—whether it’s due to a break-in, fraud, or kinds of abuse.
  • HousekeepingAs mobility issues arise, having home care assistance can help keep a home tidy and safe.
  • Medication Safety Home care can help with accidental poisonings and overdosing with medications.
  • Preventing Bathroom Hazards An in-home caregiver can help a senior with using the restroom, including with incontinence issues. Caregivers can also help with bathing and showering, which can become difficult or unsafe due to slippery surfaces in the tub or shower.
  • Assistance with Beginning and Ending the Day Starting the day can be difficult, with activities such as getting out of bed, and making breakfast. Home care assistance can provide structure for daily routines and activities.
  • Help with Wheelchairs Moving in and out of a wheelchair can be difficult. An in-home caregiver can ensure that a senior can safely transfer himself without falling or being hurt.
  • Safety-proofing a Home An in-home caregiver can assist with making a home safe from fires, slips, falls and other kinds of dangers.

Providing care for parents who are older can be a challenge, but it’s not a challenge you have to handle on your own. Home care assistance can help keep your older parent safe and give you the peace of mind that your loved one is being looked after.

For home care services in Chattanooga, call CareAssist at 423-875-4254.

Portable Oxygen Concentrators Make Life Easier for Seniors

Over the last year, new portable oxygen concentrators have hit the market and are available for patients to now use around the clock. Oxygen concentrators are significantly more advanced and “senior-friendly” than oxygen tanks. While oxygen tanks are made of aluminum and are quite heavy and clunky, oxygen concentrators are small, plastic systems that compress and purify air. Oxygen tanks have a finite amount of air available which you are required to refill once empty. On the contrary, oxygen concentrators generate an infinite amount of oxygen, as long as the battery is powered.

Most oxygen systems used in the home have a standard oxygen concentrator that plugs into the wall and portable tanks or a liquid carrier for when they leave the home. If a person travels, they would need to pack up all components of the system and transport the system to the destination to which they are traveling. Sometimes, this isn’t possible if traveling by air, so a second system must be rented to accommodate their oxygen needs where they are traveling.

New portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) are now available to complement, or in some cases, replace oxygen systems – allowing for travel on airplanes, cruise ships or RVs. These new POCs range in weight from 4 pounds on up to 15 pounds and can be used not only during wake hours, but also for sleep. They plug in and charge in the car and operate as the main system when plugged into the wall at the hotel. Many equipment companies are unable to provide these POCs for insurance reimbursement due to the cost of the new technology, but they are available for private purchase with a prescription for oxygen.

Unfortunately, most seniors are not educated on the differences between oxygen tanks and oxygen concentrators. Furthermore, there are various concentrators to choose from, so picking the brand right for your needs can be difficult. Whether you live at home and have care from a home care agency, or reside in a senior living community, we recommend asking your trusted senior healthcare professional on which brand they prefer.

How Can You Protect Aging Parents From Financial Fraud?

Over the next 25 years, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will more than double to 72 million. And by 2030, seniors will make up at least 20% of the total U.S. population. Sadly, many con artists see those numbers as a major opportunity, and there’s growing evidence that criminals are stepping up their schemes focusing on the elderly.

Rip-off artists, sketchy financial advisers, and door-to-door con men have always targeted the elderly for fraud, but many aging Americans are especially vulnerable now that international calls, email, and the internet have opened up new avenues for financial fraud. In one shockingly common scam, a caller from Jamaica claims to have lottery winnings for the senior — if only they will pay some back taxes first. Other seniors are fooled by phony IRS agents, or by Nigerian scammers posing as American soldiers on dating websites.

What’s worse, scammers are now targeting lonely seniors, some of whom suffer from dementia and other forms of cognitive decline. These con men callers can be relentless once they’ve identified a potential victim, often harassing seniors who live alone and are vulnerable to such elder abuse. How can you protect an aging parent, relative, or neighbor from financial fraud like this?

First, communication is key. Spend some time talking with the seniors in your life about these scams, and make sure they understand the common schemes targeting older Americans. Consumer advocates Consumer Reports also recommends taking the following steps:

  • If you suspect a senior has fallen victim to financial or elder abuse, call the Senate Special Committee on Aging fraud hotline at (855) 303-9470
  • Install Caller ID and ignore unknown callers
  • Opt out of all commercial mail solicitation
  • Never speak with door-to-door sales people
  • Research contractors and other services with local licensing companies and the Better Business Bureau
  • If your loved one lives alone, try and help them get involved in a community or assisted living center where they won’t be so isolated

But because 90% of seniors want to “age in place,” they are often resistant to assisted living homes. This puts them in serious danger, because these scammers are always hunting for seniors who live alone. If you want to make sure your loved ones are safe, consider the benefits of senior care services. Unlike elder care, which provides medical services, senior care services provide companionship services like help with finances, scheduling, prescription refills, cooking and cleaning, hygiene, help around the house, travel around town, and so much more.

Senior care services like these are often covered by Medicaid or other state programs designed to help seniors. By talking regularly with aging parents, you can help them become more aware of common scams. And by working to keep them engaged in their community, you can avoid the loneliness so many of these con men prey upon.

Know Your Options: the Tennessee CHOICES Program and Senior Home Care

If you’re looking for senior home care, home health care, or assisted living in Chattanooga TN, then the Tennessee CHOICES Program may help cover the cost of your expenses. But like most aspects of the American health care system, understanding and penetrating the bureaucracy can be difficult, especially if you’re already stressed about aging parents.

Among Americans with aging parents, 30% say their parents need help managing their affairs. In part, that’s because two out of three Americans over 65 suffer from multiple, chronic health conditions. By 2010, seniors were already spending an average of $18,424 every year on health care, three times more than the average adult. And with the number of Americans over 65 expected to double to more than 72 million in the next 25 years, a number of programs are available to help aging Americans afford vital resources.

That’s why Tennessee residents over 21 with a physical disability and seniors over 65 have access to Tennessee’s CHOICES program. And because almost 90% of seniors want to stay in their homes, CHOICES also helps pay for senior home care. With home care, older Americans can age in place with the help of regular, non-medical companionship services.
So what kind of home care services are covered by the CHOICES program? Here’s a brief list of some of the services that are often covered under CHOICES:

  • Personal Care Visits: visits of up to four hours in which seniors can receive help with bathing, getting dressed, fixing meals, and other necessities around the house.
  • Minor home modifications
  • In-home Respite Care: Have someone visit to relieve a full-time caregiver or family member.
  • Pest Control
  • Assistive Technology: helping seniors live more safely in their own home.
  • Adult Day Care: Arranging supervised activities during the day.

Plus, the best Chattanooga senior home care services can provide help with scheduling appointments, picking up prescriptions, transportation, and more. Seniors with Medicaid may well be eligible for some or all of these services through a qualified home care service provider. Medicaid and the CHOICES program can help cover some or all of the costs, making life easier for seniors, adult caregivers, and everyone who loves them.